BEIRUT - Lebanon's caretaker defence minister Maurice Slim was safe on Thursday after his car was hit by gunfire, the country's interior minister said in a statement.

Slim's vehicle was travelling in the Jisr el-Bashra neighbourhood on the southeast edge of the capital Beirut on Thursday afternoon when bullets hit a window of his car, according to one security source and one political source.

Interior Minister Bassam al-Mawlawi told reporters on Thursday that security services were investigating the incident to determine whether it was a targeted attack or the result of stray bullets.

"In any case, we thank God for the safety of the minister of defense," Mawlawi said.

A separate security source told Reuters that the bullets were strays and denied there had been an attempt on Slim's life.

The incident came as Lebanon's army was deployed in a Christian village in the mountains southeast of Beirut following a deadly shootout between residents and members of the Shi'ite group Hezbollah.

(Reporting by Maya Gebeily Editing by Mark Potter)